Column: Song about wine has notes of Cucamonga

I use the excuse of the Filippi Winery news of last month to resurrect the story of the Grateful Dead song, “Pride of Cucamonga,” that takes its name from a Filippi product. It could’ve been a paragraph, but since it’s been, gulp, 16 years since I last wrote about this bit of immortality, might as well drag it into the sunlight again for a new generation. Also, more about the old days of wine-tasting in the Inland Valley, a centenarian in Fontana gets the COVID vaccine and a virtual talk will explore Pomona’s LGBTQ history. All of this is in Friday’s column. Now how much would you pay?

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Column: Childhood pal recalls ‘sweet,’ ‘tough’ Ritchie Valens

When a Riverside County reader told me he grew up with rocker Ritchie Valens, and had photos, I thought this sounded promising and made an appointment to meet him. He was definitely worth talking to, a story I tell in Friday’s column. (I’m hoping I’m not testing the patience of those uninterested in Valens. Sometimes when it rains, it pours.)

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Column: Happy 80th, Joan Baez, who learned to sing in Redlands

There was such interest in my columns on a recent Baez biography and on a concert she gave at her former high school in Redlands, I decided to devote Friday’s column to her Redlands years to coincide with her birthday Saturday. She lived in the city for five years in her childhood and taught herself to sing during that period by experimenting in the shower.

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Column: Figure behind California Jam festivals of ’70s dies

Don Branker, the emcee and producer of the two California Jam rock festivals in Ontario, died earlier this month. (I happened to see his paid obituary in the LA Times, one reason a print subscription comes in handy.) I also pay tribute to Bob Smith, a Pomona artist and history buff and friend of yours truly, and present two other short items, all in Wednesday’s column.

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